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Furthering the Innovation of Student Curiosity

September 27, 2018
YCP Hacks

Imagine having 43 hours to create anything you wanted. If you were given the tools and the resources, what would you create?

A motion-activated drum set? A database that could autonomously find past classmates? What about a system that can learn and master any type of board game?

Now, couple these ideas with free food, a fun atmosphere with friends, faculty expertise, and access to industry experts, and you have YCP Hacks, York College’s annual hackathon event that gives students the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality.

BACK TO THE HACK

The point of a hackathon is simple: think of something new to create or choose a problem to solve. From there, it’s up to the individual or group.

And with around 150 participants, there is quite a lot of diverse thinking.

Sponsored by the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, YCP Hacks is York College’s third annual hackathon event. This year promises to be as big or bigger than last year’s event, which essentially doubled in size from the inaugural event two years ago.

“As we continue to host the event, we reach out to a bigger audience every year,” says Kate Kennely, a sophomore computer science major at York College who is part of the YCP Hacks planning team. “I have already had people asking for details about the event because they had so much fun last year.”

This increase in student interest isn’t just limited to York College. While most participants are from Pennsylvania, YCP Hacks has hosted students from the West Coast and as far away as Canada.

Oscar Winters, Associate Director of the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, sees this diversity as an essential part of the experience.

“YCP Hacks is all about thinking outside of the box to develop something new,” Winters says, “Having students come from all around the country forces different lifestyles, views, and methods to work together, which in turn results in some quite unique projects.

EVENT DETAILS

YCP Hacks 2018 has a lot to offer. Here are some details:

  • YCP Hacks 2018 will begin on Friday, October 19, and end on Sunday, October 21
  • The event will take place in the Willman Business Center on York College’s campus
  • The hackathon is open to any student from any college from any country
  • YCP Hacks 2018 includes several workshops and lightning talks and provides face time with sponsors and potential employers
  • The event culminates with teams presenting their projects to a panel of judges for the chance to win cash and tech prizes
  • Interested students can register to participate and view more details on our website.

There’s always something going on during the event, and participants will have no trouble learning something new.

“The prizes and the money are nice,” Winters notes, “but the real value is everything that a student can learn throughout the event. That, coupled with new friends and connections, makes for a great experience.”

Dr. James Norrie, Dean of the Graham School of Business at York College, agrees.

“This is a college course in a box,” Norrie states. “There’s nothing quite like safely exploring the real world, making mistakes, and asking dumb questions. This is a shortcut to knowledge.”

WHAT’S NEW?

YCP Hacks has always been successful, but the team knows that the key to staying on top is to keep innovating.

This year, there is a much bigger focus being put on the incorporation of diverse disciplines.

While the event certainly appeals to engineers and those who are tech-savvy, there is a definite benefit to having a, for example, business student’s entrepreneurial thinking.

“College is a time for students to explore different fields,” Kennely says, “Having this inter-disciplinary team experience gives students an advantage in the job force.”

Norrie believes that having students from different disciplines is one of the most important things at an event like this.

“The diversity of disciplines creates more winning teams,” Norrie says. “Computer science majors already know the basics of what they’re doing, but getting them to work with others outside of their major creates an entirely new dynamic.”

You don’t have to be a tech guru or computer junky to participate, you just need a desire to have fun and to create; the event and its participants are always willing to lend a hand.

There is also a larger focus on sponsor interaction. The event, which is funded entirely by businesses and local organizations, is a great place for participants to meet potential future employers, and those employers to meet the ‘job force’ that Kennely is talking about.

“Sponsors get to learn how student education is developed and the technologies and techniques we are learning,” she says, “And the students get to gain experience in interacting with potential employers.”

Participants are already excited to jump into the event.

Says Kennely, “I only expect this enthusiasm to spread throughout campus.”

To learn more and register for YCP Hacks, visit our website.

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